The Humanism of John Paul II|
Humanism and Novelty
Why has everything over the past 40 years have to be new? Why is man stressed so much over God? Is the novelty not worn thin? And what happens to passing fancies that no longer are useful? Got a match?
"Throughout John Paul II's now 23½-years-old pontificate, we have been exposed to countless unprecedented novelties, and these have come to us in all forms: by teaching, by private homily, by actions and events, and by inaction of the Holy Father (for instance, as pertains to the liturgical mess which goes even beyond Novus Ordo standards, or as pertains to the virtual absence of excommunications of heretics and dissenters, except, of course, traditionalist bishops)."
Once again our topic under discussion is Pope John Paul II's apparent obsession with "human dignity." Already in my series on "Vatican II and the Gospel of Man," I quoted numerous statements made by the current Pope that were confusing at best and outright heretical and dangerous at worst.
First, let us look at something the Pope said in his homily on November 24, 1985:
"The Council [Vatican II], which has given us a rich ecclesiological doctrine, has organically linked its teaching about the Church with its teaching about man's vocation in Christ. By reason of this relationship it has also been possible to say that 'man is the way for the Church,' precisely by reason of the fact that the Church follows Christ, who is for all people the way, the truth and the life' (Jn. 14:6)."
Now, let us approach this statement in two ways. Let us first suppose that it is perfectly orthodox. The only problem I would then have with it is that it is entirely novel. Where and when have we heard this before? It's new to me. It wasn't taught - to my knowledge - before 1958. In fact, I cannot imagine any Pope before Vatican II getting comfortable with the idea that, however one interprets it, "man is the way for the Church"! It is interesting to me, but not surprising, that the only reference John Paul II makes here is to Vatican II. But since when can a council draw up new teachings? It's not as if the Church had just come into existence. Rather, the Church has been around for 2,000 years, and not until 1965 did we hear anything about man being the way for the Church. Christ is the way for the Church, certainly, and Christ was true man. But to say that man is the way for the Church - sorry, I don't see how you can say that.
Given that now, for John Paul II and the Novus Ordo establishment, man is the way, it follows necessarily that man is always on the Pope's mind. His status, his situation, his progress-all of this becomes extremely and unprecedentedly important, all of a sudden, as the Pope himself admits:
"Since this man is the way for the Church, the way for her daily life and experience, for her mission and toil, the Church of today must be aware in an always new manner of man's situation. That means that she must be aware of his possibilities, which keep returning to their proper bearings and thus revealing themselves. She must likewise be aware of the threats to man and of all that seems to oppose the endeavor 'to make human life ever more human' and make every element of this life correspond to man's true dignity-in a word, she must be aware of all that is opposed to that process" (Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, #14).
In this little paragraph - which, by the way, is entitled "For the Church all ways lead to man" -, the Pope has summarized precisely what is so disturbing about the new developments in our Holy Church. What is it with all this business about man? Man is now "the way for the Church's daily life and experience"? What? This little passage is a perfect example of what I analyzed in earlier installments as pure razzmatazz! Note also the Pope's entirely mystifying line here: "The Church of today must be aware in an always new manner of man's situation." Why does it have to be in a manner that is always new? Does one and the same manner not suffice? What precisely does this mean, "an always new manner"? I find this entirely meaningless and nonsensical. Sounds good, to be sure, but I can find no substance behind those words. It's typical Vatican II-speak. Razzmatazz indeed! Pope John Paul's entire pontificate is characterized by statements like this one.
But again, if what John Paul teaches in Redemptor Hominis 14 is all so super-sound and orthodox, as the Neo-Catholics insist, why is it NEW? Can anyone find a reference to any of this new humanist stuff before 1958? I challenge anyone to find such a reference! Perhaps that would shed more light on it. But as it is, I cannot help but conclude that the Pope is putting forth novelty, which is ipso facto not part of magisterial teaching and therefore requires no obedience:
"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth."
[First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Denz. 1836]
Now, not only do we know from history that we are being presented with novelties; we even know so from John Paul II himself:
"The extent and depth of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council call for a renewed commitment to deeper study in order to reveal clearly the council's continuity with tradition, especially in points of doctrine which, perhaps because they are new, have not yet been well understood by some sections of the church" [Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, July 2, 1988; par. 5 b].
Not only is this an admission that Vatican II put forth novelty, but it is also a contradiction. The Pope says on the one hand that there is a continuity with Tradition, but on the other hand he affirms that some things the council taught are new - apparently so blatantly new that they have caused a rupture with previous teaching. To my knowledge, this is unprecedented in the history of the Church. So which is it? Is Vatican II continuous with Tradition or did it teach novelty? The Pope seems to say it's both. I find it quite ironic, therefore, that he should accuse Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of having "an incomplete and contradictory notion of tradition" (Ecclesia Dei, par. 4)! Who is the one with a contradictory and distorted view of Tradition here? Come on!
In his homily on February 26, 2000, available on the Vatican's web site, John Paul II said: "In revealing himself on the Mountain [Sinai] and giving his Law, God revealed man to man himself. Sinai stands at the very heart of the truth about man and his destiny." More humanism! Another instance of what I think I am going to refer to as a "John-Paulism" from now on. Folks, what in the world was revealed on Mt. Sinai about man? Nothing! God revealed Himself on this mountain, giving us His Ten Commandments! Man was merely the passive recipient here. And what is this talk about God revealing "man to man himself"?? What? God revealed Himself to man, not man to man himself! Is the Pope saying here that God = man? God forbid! I don't want to speculate; you make up your own mind about this. But it certainly looks like John Paul is putting man in the place of God - something which isn't all that surprising looking at his overall pontificate's obsession with man and human dignity and "interreligious" prayer events and a secularized notion of "peace" and all that nonsense.
Now, look at what else we can find by John Paul II that twists truth about God into a "truth about man":
The Pope's very first Christmas message as Pope (Urbi Et Orbi), given on December 25, 1978, was entitled: "Accept the great truth concerning man"! Indeed, in his very first paragraph, he says that "Christmas is the feast of man"! This is totally unacceptable. It is the feast of God, God becoming man! We do not celebrate ourselves on Christmas Day, nor do we celebrate humanity. We celebrate Christ! Having been Pope for barely more than two months, John Paul II was already injecting his apparent humanism into the Church, making Christmas a feast of man! It is truly disturbing to see this Supreme Pontiff constantly replace references to God by references to man. Since no truth concerning man was revealed on Christmas, it follows that there is no "great truth concerning man" to be found there! Christmas is about the Savior, God Incarnate, who came to deliver us from our sins (cf. St. Luke 2:11).
Clearly, folks, this is humanism, and it is novel. Never before Vatican II did we hear in the Church something as absurd as Christmas being a feast about man or Christmas revealing the truth concerning man. Never! And if you think I am wrong on this, I challenge you to show me where before Vatican II the Church or a Pope ever put forth such twisted thinking.
Seven years later, on Christmas Day of 1985, the Pope said: "What is grace? Grace is
precisely the manifestation of God. God's opening of himself to man . . . Grace is Emmanuel: God with us . . . Grace is, also, man, the new man, created anew." Another perfect instance of a John-Paulism: "Grace is man." Whatever, folks. I'm sick of this strange talk. It had never been heard of in the Church until the Vatican II era, and it is not surprising that when John Paul II writes about these supposed "truths about man," he never quotes or cites pre-Vatican II sources (to my knowledge). All of these "man this" and "man that" statements point to Vatican II and beyond. Welcome to novelty. Welcome to the "New Church."
It is sad that traditionalist Catholics are forced to be so critical of the Pope, and it is never something we should enjoy. Yet, we really have no other choice, for preserving the Faith intact and inviolate is our duty and responsibility - as well as our right.
Throughout John Paul II's now 23½-years-old pontificate, we have been exposed to countless unprecedented novelties, and these have come to us in all forms: by teaching, by private homily, by actions and events, and by inaction of the Holy Father (for instance, as pertains to the liturgical mess which goes even beyond Novus Ordo standards, or as pertains to the virtual absence of excommunications of heretics and dissenters, except, of course, traditionalist bishops).
How much longer? Perhaps more importantly, what will happen after John Paul II? It seems to me that it cannot go on as it has much longer. The next Pope, in my opinion, will go all the way - either all the way to the left or all the way back to Tradition. Let us pray it is the latter, so that liberalism and modernism, humanism and novelty will finally face its well-deserved bitter and destructive end and, as Christ has promised, "Every tree that yieldeth not good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire" (Matt. 7: 19) for indeed, "by their fruits you shall know them." (Matt. 7: 20).
Editor's Note: So many of the post-conciliar bishops today refer to those clinging to the true Roman Catholic traditions that were in vogue for 2000 years prior to the reforms of Vatican II as 'fossils,' 'dinosaurs,' 'old folks who will die off soon.' We beg to differ and offer as proof the youthful wisdom and enthusiasm of the younger generation in the Traditional Insights of Mario Derksen who exemplifies the thinking of many more young men and women today who realize the new thinking of the post-conciliar church does not add up to true Catholic teaching. Thus they long for those traditions so tried and true. His insight shows great promise, optimism and hope for the future of Holy Mother Church.
Note: [bold, brackets and italicized words used for emphasis]
For past columns by Mario Derksen, see Archives for www.DailyCatholic.org/2002mdi.htm
April 26-28, 2002
volume 13, no. 80
Mario Derksen's young and refreshing TRADITIONAL INSIGHTS